Bon Jovi got it wrong when they said that the Hardest Part is the Night; no, the hardest part is most definitely the evening.
At three o'clock in the afternoon I could get a mother of the year award. Gilby is taking his nap whilst I do finger-painting with Gertie. The house is clean, the washing hung out to dry, the evening meal prepared.
Jump cut to two hours later. Potty-training Gertie and her little brother do synchronised poos. Hers in her knickers so that she enters the room John Wayne-style from the kitchen where she has left her uneaten supper. Both start screaming for my attention. Because Gilby is still at the breast it is a few seconds before I can reach Gertie. Suddenly the poo is no longer just in the knickers. Then she hits Gilby because she doesn't yet have my full and undivided attention. Toys are everywhere; now poo is too. The noise level in the household means that the neighbours are on the verge of phoning social services.
Daddy is not home for another hour and a half. Gilby has begun his evening feeding frenzy and will have me pinned in a chair for most of that time. Somehow I have to get both cleaned up and fed before CBeebies' Bedtime Hour begins, and restore some sense of order to the house. (Otherwise Daddy walks in and starts picking up discarded toys with a look on his face that asks what exactly I have been doing all day long.) This scenario is played out with various permutations every day; multiply stress factor by two if it happens to be a bath night.
He walks in just as we are finding out whether our entrance to the night garden will be by Ninky-Nonk or Pinky-Ponk. All is calm and clean; pyjamas are on and teeth brushed. He has no idea what the last ninety minutes have been like. I have no idea how I have survived them.